Let’ start with facts. A head cashier is a fancy job title for a cashier, who typically earns $1-2 more per hour than ordinary cashiers in the store, and have a few extra responsibilities. They may still spend a big portion of the day behind the cash counter, but they are also responsible for overseeing other cashiers, addressing employee and customer complaints, and resolving price checks. To sum it up, you will do a bit more, and earn a bit more. And while it is a common practice to hire a head cashier internally, promoting one of the existing cashiers to the role, you can also get this job without working in a retail store before.

Let’s have a look at 14 questions you may face in the interview process. The store manager will typically ask you about your motivation, goals, expectations, and of course about various situations you may face while overseeing the cashier staff. Think conflict with a colleague, complaint of a customer, heavy workload in the store, one of the cashier not arriving to the shift, lacking coins, etc. We will look at the questions right now, one after one.

 

Why do you want to work as a head cashier?

They should get an impression that you aren’t in only for an extra dollar or two per hour. On the contrary, you’ve done the work of the cashier before. You understand the challenges staff faces in a fast-paced environment of a retail store. Responsibility, communication skills and conflict resolution belong to your strengths, and you feel to have what it takes to do an excellent job as a head cashier.

You can also mention a general motivation to progress in your professional career. Since you are ambitious and perhaps hope to get a job of an assistant store manager one day, you want to get promoted from a cashier to a head cashier, as an important step on your career journey. Do not forget to speak with enthusiasm, they should get an impression that you really want the job, and do not apply for it only because you cannot get anything better.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in a retail store working as a head cashier?

I suggest you to avoid showing some fancy managerial expectations. Job of a head cashier is in a way a supervisory role, but definitely not a managerial position. As I’ve already mentioned, you may still spend a big part of your working day behind the cash counter, and you should say so in the interviews.

You can mention other duties besides that, such as addressing employee requests, stepping in when a problem occurs, ensuring that all registers have the current amount of cash at all times, and resolving complaints of customers of minor character. Managers typically address serious complaints, at least in bigger stores, so this won’t be your responsibility.

Where do you see yourself in three years from now? How long do you want to work as a head cashier?

Let’s face it: Nobody dreams of working as a head cashier for ten years. It isn’t a bad job, and I’d definitely prefer overseeing cashiers to working on a construction site, but you should aim for some progress. You have basically two options for a good answer here.

One is saying that you want to get a job of a store manager one day (or an assistant manager, simply a next logical step). Three years seems like a realistic time horizon to you. Of course, you firstly have to prove your skills as a head cashier to have a chance of getting promoted. You plan to work hard, try your best, and in such a case the plan doesn’t sound unrealistic.

Second option is saying that you simply do not think about the future. We live in uncertain times, and anything can happen in three years from now. You prefer to live in the present moment, focusing on the goal at hand, which is getting a job of a head cashier right now. Then you will try your best at work every day, and the future will take care of itself

 

One of the cashiers accuses another one of working slowly, not trying hard enough. Step in an resolve the conflict.

Cashiers are people (at least right now, one day we will meet only robots in the store, or we will do all our shopping online–which will be a very sad day indeed), and people have conflicts in the workplace. Such conflicts can have a profound impact on the productivity of the entire team, and that’s why a head cashier should step in and solve them promptly.

You can start by saying that you will hear out both conflict parties, and question also other cashiers, to make your own picture of the situation, and decide whether the accusations are true. If they are, you will have a one on one with the cashier in question, trying to understand the issue. It can be lack of motivation, it can be health problems, and perhaps they are slow simply because they haven’t learned the job yet. Understanding the core of the problem, you will try to fix it.

You can also add that you will do your best to maintain friendly relationships in the workplace, because you understand a positive impact such an atmosphere has on the productivity in the retail store.

 

Imagine that a customer complains about the behavior of one of the cashiers. What will you do?

Customer is always right, even when they are wrong. Most retail stores still stick to the policy, simply because they know how much money every returning customer brings to the store over the years. Hence you should say that you will do all you can to make the customer satisfied again. In some cases apologizing and ensuring them that you will address the issue may be enough. In other cases, you may apologize and offer them a voucher or a discount. What exactly you will do depends on the individual situation and the circumstances. Your job isn’t done with a customer though.

Once they leave the store with a smile on their face, you will go and talk to the cashier. You will investigate the situation, taking into account whether it was the first incident, or more customers complained about the same person recently. You will give them instructions on how they should change their behavior, to make sure the same situation doesn’t repeat again. In some cases you may take some disciplinary measures, or involve the store manager in the case, but this really depends on the internal policy of the retail store, and the situation in question.

 

Imagine that a workload is extremely heavy, and one of the cashiers had to leave unexpectedly due to health reasons. What will you do?

They want to find out two things with this question. First one, whether you do not mind rolling up your sleeves and taking on the job when necessary. As I’ve said a couple of time already, head cashier isn’t a managerial job, and you shouldn’t show a managerial mindset in your interview. Replacing the missing cashier at the cash register and trying your best to ease the workload for other cashiers, and reduce the waiting time for customers, is definitely an option here.

It is even better to show a more holistic approach to the problem. You can say that at first you will try to replace the cashier from within the staff on shift. Many people in a retail store can operate the cash register. Maybe one of the stock clerks or other employees (or even more of them) can leave their job for a couple of hours and help the existing cashiers.

If it doesn’t work, you may try to find a last minute replacement, calling part-time cashiers whether they could not come to the store. Needless to say, in some cases this will be a responsibility of the store manager. It really depends on the organization of the store… If nothing works, however, you will simply take on the job yourself, serving the customers together with other cashiers.

 

Other questions you may face while interviewing for a Head Cashier position

  • How will make you sure that all registers have the correct amount of cash at all times?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What motivates you in work?
  • An employee complains that their cash register reacts slowly, and it slows them down in their work. What will you do?
  • In your opinion, should head cashiers address the complaints of the employees, or is it a responsibility of a store manager?
  • Tell us about a time when you received a difficult feedback from someone.
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • After everything we’ve discussed in the interviews, do you have any questions?

 

Final thoughts

Interview for a job of a head cashier belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. Questions tend to repeat from one place to another, and hence you can prepare for them in advance.

Just make sure that you show the right attitude to work, and do not present a “managerial mindset” in your interview. Head cashier is not a manager, though the job title may suggest so. Show realistic expectations on the job, and some enthusiasm, and more often than not they will hire you. I wish you good luck!

Matthew Chulaw
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